Topical Sermons       

Power Point Show      MP3 audio

Scripture Reading: Psalm 33:1-5

Worshiping God in Music (Part 2)


1.  Review of Part 1:

  a.  God’s holiness honored in worship, Lev. 10:1-3; 1 Pet. 1:15-16

  b.  OT worship system included musical instruments by the command of God (2 Chrn. 29:25-27).

  c   Old covenant is done away in Christ (2 Cor. 3:14; Heb. 7:12).

  d.  NT silence on musical instruments is not divine consent and approval (Heb. 7:13-14).

2.  Further attempts to defend musical instruments in worship.

3.  But first, a brief historical analysis of musical instruments in worship to demonstrate departure from the faith (1 Tim. 4:1).



  A.  Music in the NT Church: Singing, Heb. 2:12.

    1.  Heart-expressed worship to the Lord as saints speak to one another, Eph. 5:19.

    2.  Teach and admonish in song with grace in hearts, Col. 3:16.

    3.  Congregational with individual responsibility, 1 Cor. 14:14-16.

    4.  Individual worship expressing joy, Jas. 5:13.

  B.  Complete Silence of New Testament Re. Musical Instruments in Worship.

    1.  Where do you go to condone it?

      a.  OT system that has been abolished.

      b.  Traditions of men that introduced it and sustain it.

    2.  Remember this warning: Deut. 12:32 (OT); 1 Cor. 4:6 (NT).

  C.  Survey of Attitudes and Practices after NT Period. (Quotes)

    1.  2nd-5th centuries: Unanimous rejection in worship.

    2.  Dark Ages: Rise of musical instruments in RCC:

       -670 (Pope Vitalianus); 812 (Charlemagne); By 9th century only two organs had been used in organized worship (by the apostate church!); Considerable resistance for over 500 yrs.

    3.  Used sparingly until late 13th century; gained an accepted place in the RCC in the 14-15th centuries.

    4.  Protestant Reformers (16th cent): Luther indifferent toward reforming worship by removing instruments; others, like (Zwingli, 1484-1531, John Calvin, 1509-1564), disagreed.

    5.  Puritans, some Reformed groups continue to reject it.

    6.  18th-19th cent.: Gradual to widespread acceptance.

    7.  Assessing the historical evidence:

      a.  Use of instrumental music in worship was not instituted by Christ or His apostles (no controversy -- it was not used!).

      b.  Added by man (2 Jno. 9-11): Without God’s approval!



  A.  In Eph. 5:19Psallo” means “to Pluck/Twang”: Therefore an Instrument Must be Included in this Word.

    1.  What is to be plucked? The heart! Eph. 5:19 (Otherwise, all must play an instrument!)

    2.  psallo:  “In the N.T., to sing a hymn, sing praise” (Rom. 15:9; 1 Cor. 14:15; Jas. 5:13) (Vine, III:58).

    3.  “In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.” (Thayer, 675)

    4.  OT musical instruments in worship contrasted with God-given instrument (heart).

  B.  There are Musical Instruments in Heaven, Rev. 5:8; 14:2-3.

    -Rev 14:2: And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. (ESV)

    1.  Heaven is a spiritual realm (1 Cor. 15:50).

    2.  Physical things in a spiritual place? cf. 1 Cor. 15:44

      a.  Revelation a book of signs, symbols and figures.

      b.  No more literal than chain that binds Satan (Rev. 20:1-2).

  C.  We Play Instruments at Home.

    1.  Things can be morally right but religiously wrong (cf. L.S.).

    2.  No authority to use in worship to God -- anywhere! Jas. 5:13

  D.  We Like it, we Want it and we are Going to Have it.

    1.  At least this is being honest about it.

    2.  Obstinate rebellion; faithlessness, 1 Sam. 8:19, 7; 2 Cor. 5:7.

  E.  Worship is a Right thing to do and there is no Wrong Way to Worship God. (Tell that to Nadab and Abihu!)

     -Jesus said there is a wrong way to do it, Matt. 15:7-9.

  F.  The Defense We Never Hear: “We should use instrumental music in worship because the NT commands it and the New Testament church used it.”



1.  “God has not left His worship open to the inventions, desires, or preferences of men.” (Old Light on New Worship, John Price, 53)

2.  God wants worship in spirit and truth (Jno. 4:23-24); must do so.







-Justin Martyr (ca. 100-165): About 140 he wrote:

“The use of singing with instrumental music was not received in the Christian churches as it was among the Jews in their infant state, but only the use of plain song.” (Treasury of David, Spurgeon, I:2, 111; see John Price, page 71 footnote)


“Musical organs pertain to the Jewish ceremonies and agree no more to us than circumcision.” (cited by John Price, page 71)


-Professor Edwin Dickinson, Oberlin College, History of Music in the Western Church, p. 54:

“In view of the controversies over the use of instrumental music in worship which have been so violent in the British and American Protestant churches, it is an interesting question whether instruments were employed by the primitive Christians. We know that instruments performed an important function in the Hebrew temple service and in the ceremonies of the Greeks. At this point, however, a break was made with all previous practice, and although the lyre and flute were sometimes employed by the Greek converts, as a general rule, the use of instruments in worship was condemned.”


(1) Edmund S. Lorenz, Church Music, 217:

In regard to the singing of the early church, “there was no instrumental accompaniment.” (Cited by John Price, Old Light on New Worship, 68)


(2) James McKinnon, The Temple, the Church Father and Early Western Chant, 69:

“The antagonism which the Fathers of the early Church displayed toward instruments has two outstanding characteristics: vehemence and uniformity.” (Cited by John Price, Old Light on New Worship, 68)


(3) Catholic Encyclopedia X:652:

“Although Josephus tells of the wonderful effects produced in the Temple by the use of instruments, the first Christians were of too spiritual a fibre to substitute lifeless instruments for or to use them to accompany the human voice. Clement of Alexandria (165-215 AD, jrp) severely condemns the use of instruments even at Christian banquets. St. Chrysostom (344?-407 AD, jrp) sharply contrasts the customs of the Christians when they had full freedom with those of the Jews of the Old Testament.”




-Catholic Encyclopedia X:657:

“For almost a thousand years Gregorian chant, without any instrumental or harmonic addition was the only music used in connection with the liturgy. The organ, in its primitive and rude form, was the first, and for a long time the sole, instrument used to accompany the chant.”


-American Encyclopedia XII:688:

“Pope Vitalian is related to have first introduced organs into some of the churches of western Europe about 670; but the earliest trustworthy account is that of the one sent as a present by the Greek Emperor Constantine Copronymos, to Pepin, king of the Franks, in 775.”


-Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274): One of the most prominent Roman Catholic theologians of the Middle Ages; in 1260 wrote:

“The church does not use musical instruments such as the harp or lyre when praising God, in case she should seem to fall back into Judaism…” (cited by John Price, 81)


 -Joseph Bingham, Antiquities of the Christian Church, I:315:

Concerning the use of instrumental music in worship, wrote,

“that there were no such things in use in the ancient churches for many ages. Music in churches is as ancient as the apostles, but instrumental music not so: for it is now generally agreed among learned men that the use of organs came into the church since the time of Thomas Aquinas, Anno 1250.” (Cited by John Price, 81-82)


-John L. Girardeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, p. 179:

“It has thus been proved, by an appeal to historical facts, that the church, although lapsing more and more into defection from the truth and into a corruption of apostolic practice, had no instrumental music for twelve hundred years; and that the Calvinistic Reformed Church ejected it from its services as an element of Popery, even the Church of England having come very nigh to its extrusion from her worship. The historical argument, therefore, combines with the Scriptural and the confessional to raise a solemn and powerful protest against its employment by the Presbyterian Church. It is heresy in the sphere of worship.”




-Huldriech Zwingli (1484-1531): Removed the organ from the Great Minister Church in June 1524.

“Zwingli went so far as to remove not only musical instruments but all vocal singing from the churches in Zurich.” (Old Light on New Worship, John Price, 91)


-John Calvin (1509-1564 – Presbyterian founder), Commentary on Psalms 33 and on I Samuel 18:1-9:

“Musical instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to Him.”


-John Wesley (Methodist founder), Cited by Adam Clarke in his Commentary, IV:684:

“I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen.”


-The Puritan Era (1600’s): Rejected musical instruments in worship as “popish” ornaments with no place in Christian worship. (Price, 106-107)


-Charles Spurgeon (Considered one of the greatest Baptist preacher to have ever lived), Commentary on Psalms 42:

“Praise the Lord with harp. Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her to learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes….We do not need them. That would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice.”